What can you do with expired food?

In this article, we will answer the following question: What can you do with expired food? We tell you what to do with expired meat, fruits and vegetables, pastry and cold cuts, and cheese. 

What can you do with expired food?

If the food has already expired it is best NOT TO CONSUME IT, when in doubt of putting health at risk. But let’s not forget that this is a waste of resources and money and must be avoided. Thus, below we will give you some ideas on what to do with expired food that still looks and smells good. Never eat food that has a strange smell, changed its color, or has mold on it. 

What to do with meat, fish, and chicken when the expiration date is approaching

Meat, chicken, and fish. With this type of food, there are only two options, freezing or cooking.

If we see that one day of the expiration date has passed, you can still cook it: wash the food and make a stew, some meatballs, meat in sauce, or a soup… that way, with prolonged cooking, the bacteria will die. In these cases, as always happens with raw foods, they must be handled with great care: hands and all utensils that have been in contact with the food must be washed to avoid cross-contamination.

It can also be frozen and, even after freezing if cooked, it can be frozen again already cooked, thus greatly extending its shelf life.

What to do with cold cuts and cheeses when their expiration date is approaching

Foods such as cold cuts, cooked ham, turkey breast, mortadella, etc. can be frozen directly. They should be allowed to defrost slowly for a day in the fridge and then they can be consumed as is.

Cheeses can also be frozen, although they can lose some texture and juiciness if they are frozen for a long time or are not protected in a tightly closed bag, they can be consumed without a problem. When they lose texture and juiciness they can be used to fill cannelloni, to put it on top of pizzas, etc. 

Hard cheeses, such as Manchego, Parmesan, etc. can be kept frozen and used when we want to gratin a dish.

What to do with fruits and vegetables when they start to spoil

Vegetables that are beginning to spoil or show symptoms of mold and rot can still be used … as long as the damaged area is extensively removed. You can use them to make pesto, puree, stir fry, stew with meat, etc.

In fruits, you can also take advantage of the parts that we can save and use them to make a fruit salad or in smoothies, smoothies, or pastries. They can be used instantly or can also be frozen for later use. Bananas, for example, can be frozen and later used to make cookies, cakes, smoothies … to which they add sweetness without noticing the loss of texture that occurs when freezing.

What to do with pastry when it starts to dry

When the buns or bread get hard, you can make pudding with a flan preparation or with eggs, milk, and sugar; They can also be cut into slices to make French toast or used as a base for a tiramisu, in the case of pastries.

Bread, of course, can be grated, it can be used to make garlic or onion soups or crumbs: now that we have more time, it can be used to make those dishes that we dream of when we are very busy away from home.

Foods that can be used after the expiration date

There are other types of food that can be consumed without problems despite the date on the packaging has passed. 

  • Products such as yogurts or desserts can be consumed without a problem, even if days have passed from the preferred consumption date.
  • The same goes for cans, even if they have expired for a month, they hold up well. It is convenient to open them and see how they are. The contents may have gone rancid and separated into phases, or the color may have been altered, but they may be edible if they have only expired for a few months.
  • With pasta, rice, or legumes there is no problem in taking them expired. They may be drier and take longer to cook or the flavor changes a bit, but the normal thing is that they stay a little dry and a little more.
  • With sauces, such as fried tomato, even if they have expired a few days or a week ago, there is no problem. In the case of mayonnaise or sauces based on oils or fats, it is common for them to become rancid or separate into phases; just open and taste them to see if they can be consumed or not.

Take advantage of the leftovers

  • Some well-washed potato peels can be transformed into chips, baking them in the oven, smeared with a little oil and spices.
  • With the remains of the vegetables, you can make a broth to add to soups and stews (for example with the pods of beans or peas, the outer leaves of lettuce …).

Final thoughts

In this article, we answered the following question: What can you do with expired food? We told you what to do with expired meat, fruits and vegetables, pastry and cold cuts, and cheese. 

It is best to consume products within two days of preparation at most. The longer food is stored, the greater the risk of food poisoning. Throw away any leftovers that have been stored too long.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

Who.int

Foodsafety.gov

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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